Community Art Boxes

A Civic Dialogue Initiative of the Thomas Memorial Library


The Thomas Memorial Library is one of twelve libraries in the country to receive a grant from the American Library Association, supported by The Estée Lauder Companies WRITING CHANGE initiative. The grant, which supports ALA’s Civic Imagination Station Pilot program, makes it possible for librarian and artist teams to develop community-based art projects that encourage civic dialogue.

TML Director Rachel Davis teamed up with local artist Marie Ahearn to apply for the grant. Through a series of workshops and coaching sessions with the entire cohort, Davis and Ahearn developed a project plan they are calling Community Art Boxes, or CAB, which will consist of mini-galleries located around the Cape Elizabeth town center.

The Community Art Boxes will display monthly exhibits and artwork created by community members and united around a common idea or theme. Since last fall, the library has been offering monthly workshops to help community members create artwork in different media, although some exhibits will be displays of treasured or meaningful items (such as those representing family traditions.) 

Coming Up:

Paper Dolls by The Paper Doll CollectiveArtsy Paper Doll Workshop,
with The Paper Doll Collective

Saturday, April 22
10:00  – 11:30 am 

Over the past 5 years The Paper Doll Collective has met quarterly to design paper dolls based on the various themes they’ve selected from Famous Women to Self Portraits as you’ve seen here in the showing of their work. They’ve had (and continue to have) a great deal of fun making these artsy paper dolls and sharing them with one another.

This month, these artists invite you to share in the fun of creating paper dolls. All tools and supplies (including some things to add a little bling!) will be provided as well as some basic instruction and expert guidance. For a bit of inspiration, stop by the Stier Family Gallery after April first to see the exhibit of themed paper dolls that members of the group have made over the past five years. This workshop is primarily for adults, but older focused and motivated children and teens are welcome to attend as well! 

Please click here to register!

Community Art Box Interest Group
If you would like to be receive news about this project and/or learn about ways you can be involved, please fill out this form.

About the Writing Change Initiative and the Civic Imagination Stations Project

WRITING CHANGE is a three-year global, literacy initiative in partnership with Amanda Gorman, the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history, award-winning writer, and Estée Lauder Global Changemaker. Civic Imagination Station Teams were selected from a national application process conducted in June and July 2022. In August, the teams began participating together in workshops and coaching led by Civic Imagination Stations Lead Artists: Willa J. Taylor, Goodman Theatre’s Walter Director of Education and Engagement; and Michael Rohd, founding Artistic Director of Sojourn Theatre and Co-founder of the Center for Performance and Civic Practice. Through these workshops, Civic Imagination Station cohort teams have been developing their own unique arts-based projects rooted in their respective communities. ALA intends for the Civic Imagination Stations program to model processes by which other librarian/artist partnerships can work together to create locally appropriate and meaningful civic imagination projects. 

The selected pilot cohort libraries are: 

  • Bowdoinham Public Library (Bowdoinham, ME)
  • Brandon Free Library (Brandon, VT)
  • Burnsville Public Library (Burnsville, WV)
  • Chicago Public Library Thurgood Marshall Branch (Chicago, IL)
  • Edith B. Siegrist Vermillion Public Library (Vermillion, SD)
  • Fayetteville Public Library (Fayetteville, AR)
  • IU Libraries: Neal Marshall Black Culture Center Library & Herman B. Wells Library (Bloomington, IN)
  • Memphis Public Libraries Cossitt Branch (Memphis, TN)
  • Patrick and Beatrice Haggerty Library and Learning Commons, Mount Mary University (Milwaukee, WI)
  • The People’s Library (Fox, AR)
  • St. Louis Public Library (St. Louis, MO)
  • Thomas Memorial Library (Cape Elizabeth, ME)